SOUTHAMPTON, England – Jermaine Blackwood missed out on a deserved hundred but did just enough to inspire West Indies to a four-wicket victory over England in the opening Test at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.
Asked to chase 200 for victory on the final day of the contest, West Indies reached their target with an hour left, to take a vital 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.
Blackwood was at the forefront of the run chase, top-scoring with 95 to hold together an innings which lay in ruins at 27 for three in the first session after Barbados-born speedster Jofra Archer produced a lethal two-wicket burst to demolish the top order.
All told, the right-hander faced 154 balls in a shade over 3-¾ hours and struck 12 fours.
More importantly, he put on 73 for the fourth wicket with Roston Chase who made 37 and then added a further 68 for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich who made 20.
He partnered with skipper Jason Holder (14 not out) in another critical stand of 21 before drilling seamer Ben Stokes to Jimmy Anderson at mid off with West Indies needing only 11 runs to win.
Opener John Campbell, forced to retire hurt on one in the fourth over after being struck on the toe, returned to partner Holder and it was his single to square leg off Stokes which saw Windies over the line.
Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel had earlier snatched the last two wickets to fall to finish with a five-wicket haul as England, resuming from 284 for eight overnight, were dismissed for 313 in their second innings inside the first 40 minutes of the morning.
Archer, unbeaten on five at the start, top-scored with 23 to lead England’s brief resistance but Gabriel proved irrepressible with five for 75 to finish with match figures of nine for 137.